The Southern Firewall

Remember after New Hampshire when the Clinton campaign was talking about its firewall in South Carolina? I assumed it was a reference to black voters. I was wrong. The Clinton ‘firewall’ in the South is part of the general Clinton milieu—a milieu that is becoming so all-pervasive that it deserves its own name. I propose to call it, the ‘too-clever-for-its-own-good-milieu’.

First characteristic of the Clinton milieu: a willingness to be loose with the truth.

The flap over that picture of Bernie Sanders doing civil rights work in the 60s is a good example. Last fall the question was raised about whether that really was Bernie Sanders in the picture. The Clinton campaign grabbed ahold of that doubt and held on to it like a life-preserver until the evidence ripped it to shreds. In the meantime they brought Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga) forward to say how he’d never met Bernie Sanders in the 60s, and also how he did meet the Clintons. This in spite of the fact that no one has disputed Bernie Sanders’ involvement in civil rights during this time and no one has ever claimed that the Clintons were involved in civil rights work in the 60s. This ploy met its demise when the photographer who took that picture, Danny Lyon, came forward with additional pictures from the University of Chicago archives and was able to prove that it really was Sanders in the picture, ((Veterans For Bernie, 1016, New Pictures Emerge of Bernie Sanders’ Civil Rights Activism. Available: http://vetsforbernie.org/2016/02/yes-bernie-sanders-protested-for-civil-rights/)) after which John Lewis was forced to ‘clarify’ his previous comments.

Second characteristic of the Clinton milieu: strategic connections that if known would not be quite so useful, and therefore are kept hidden.

Lewis’s casting of doubt on Sanders occurred during the press conference where the Congressional Black Caucus PAC announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. What the press failed to explain was that the Congressional Black Caucus PAC (CBC PAC) is not the same thing as the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). This is why it was necessary for Rep. Ellison, a member of the CBC who supports Senator Sanders, to release a statement saying that the CBC had not endorsed Hillary Clinton. So what is the PAC exactly? Concerning this confusion, Amy Goodman quotes Lee Fang: in a Democracy Now video, ((Democracy Now, Who Endorsed Hillary Clinton, the Congressional Black Caucus or its PAC Filled With Lobbyists? Feb. 12, 2016. Available: http://www.democracynow.org/2016/2/12/who_endorsed_hillary_clinton_the_congressional))

“Members of the CBC PAC board include Daron Watts, a lobbyist for Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive opioid OxyContin; Mike Mckay and Chaka Burgess, both lobbyists for Navient, the student loan giant that was spun off of Sallie Mae; former [Rep. Albert] Wynn, D-Md., a lobbyist who represents a range of clients, including work last year on behalf of Lorillard Tobacco, the maker of Newport cigarettes; and William A. Kirk, who lobbies for a cigar industry trade group on a range of tobacco regulations.

“And a significant percentage of the $7,000 raised this cycle by the CBC PAC […] was donated by white lobbyists, including Vic Fazio, who represents Philip Morris and served for years as a lobbyist to Corrections Corporation of America, and David Adams, a former Clinton aide who now lobbies for Wal-Mart, the largest gun distributor in America.”

Of course the CBC PAC’s chair, Rep. Gregory Meeks insists that this money does not affect any of the votes cast by the CBC members who are on the board of the PAC. Who doesn’t say that? Apparently we have a veritable miracle going on here—a whole political system in which large amounts of money have no corrupting influence at all.

But that’s not all. There is also the question of the South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman’s ties to the Clinton camp. Jaimie Harrison is a principle at the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm founded by Tony and John Podesta—the same John Podesta who is chairman of Hillary Cllnton’s presidential campaign. Furthermore, he was already a principle at the Podesta Group when he became chairman of the South Caroline Democratic Party. It’s not surprising that his analysis of the presidential race favors Clinton.((Kelly Ridell, S.C. Democratic Chairman’s Ties to Hillary Clinton’s Camp Raise Fairness Questions, Washington Times, Feb. 11, 2016. Available: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/11/jamie-harrison-south-carolina-democratic-party-cha/))

If the Washington Post is correct that Hillary still has a lead in South Carolina, and unless South Carolina’s voters are all part of the elite, I think the majority of them are going to have a bad case of buyer’s remorse come next year.

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